Grandeur of the Seas Cruise Review by Rogueperson
- Sail Date: February 2017
- Destination: Bahamas
I can’t say enough good things about Baltimore. Baltimore is just amazing. This was my first cruise as a Platinum member so I got a bump to the next line. Not quite Diamond, but getting there. Total time from door to gangplank. 25 minutes. I think this was a little quicker than the last time, but in my opinion, anything less than an hour is great.
The ship is the same. Since my last sailing, there have been no upgrades or refurbishments. It continues to amaze me that they keep the elegance of this ship even though the ship is 21 years old now. The complaint I had on my last cruise seems to have diminished. The photographers are nowhere near as aggressive as they were before. So much so, there was a remark from one of my tablemates that the photo gallery was strangely deserted and devoid of normal activity.
I found the food to be quite good. The menus have not changed much so if you’re an experienced Royal Caribbean passenger, you will find a lot of the old favorites. One thing I’ve noticed that irked me a little. The beef was no longer cooked to order. You now only have two choices, medium rare, and medium well. This was in the main dining room. I HOPE that is not the case at Chops, but I did not go to Chops or any of the for fee restaurants on this trip. Windjammer, from the one time I had lunch there, it wasn’t bad, but there is not enough seats in there to accommodate people, especially when the weather is bad.
I found the service to be consistent with Royal Caribbean’s par. My wait team Ruyat and Ping were decent but I could tell they were a little overworked, more than usual. Regardless, they saw to my needs adequately and I have no complaints against them.
Room Steward. My guy, Hayat was awesome. He had it pretty easy with me as I didn’t make much of a mess and I was a solo traveler. I didn’t request new towels that often, but when he saw me in the hall, he greeted me personally and warmly and we talked a little.
Entertainment. The production shows I’ve seen before, so I did not see them again. I have no input on the current singers and dancer. The headliners were hit or miss. The good ones were James Stephens III and the cover band Rookie. James Stephens was amazing. He was a comedic impressionist who sang like the original artists. Absolutely amazing. Rookie was a cover band that played primarily old time (50s and 60s) rock and roll. This singer Aaron was totally energetic on stage. The comedians, Gary Couquette and Wayne Cotter were mediocre. I got a couple chuckles out of them, but it was nothing to write home about. And the bad. Paul Rutter, in my opinion, is a terrible cruise director. With a cruise like this with many people who have cruised before, if you can guess what the cruise director is going to say before he says it, then you need new material. His jokes were canned and used before. His Love and Marriage show was EXACTLY the same as others I’ve seen. His “audition” for the contestants were the same, and I also heard anecdotally that some of his jokes, were coached to the contestants. His attitude seems scripted throughout the cruise. I noticed times where he could have done something to keep an audience going, and instead, he stayed on script, and let the momentum go. The 70s party that is usually a lot of fun, looked like an aerobics class with no real energy behind it. At one point, the crowd looked like it was about to take off, and then nothing. His antics actually dragged it down with the normal scripted response.
Activities: I found the activities to be a bit boring. I think the ONLY thing I found interesting was a lecture on the civil war. The guy was a treasure hunter and gave us a course on items found in on old battlefields. The rest was a lot of trivia and dance classes. Fortunately for me, this was a cruise for me to get away, unwind and pretty much do nothing, and I got that in spades.
Port of calls:
Charleston. Wonderful place. It is very accessible if you’re willing to walk. A couple blocks in, and you get to a main stretch of commercial establishments that offer pretty much everything you could want. The city is a mix of old and new. I opted to go independent and book a tour myself to Fort Sumter. $21.00. I probably will not visit fort Sumter again as its actually fairly small. I could have used many an additional 30 minutes on the island, but that’s it. I could easily spend days in this city exploring. Would come back to this city in a heartbeat.
Port Canaveral. This would be a throwaway port for me, but I found its stride. I have friends here so I hooked a ride with them and they took me all over. We ended up at a place called Cocoa Village, which was a nice quaint little town. If I came back here again (and I probably would), I would rent a car and come back here, or somewhere similar to here (Cocoa Village). This was a suggestion from the waitress at a restaurant at the beach we went to.
Miami. Again, I considered this a throwaway port. It’s always been a port of embarkation and never a port visit. I had low hopes here, but again, I had friends I connected with and they drove me around to. We ended up in South Beach and Miami Beach. South Beach is an amazingly beautiful place. I could spend all day here. There are so many restaurants and shops to go through.
Freeport (Grand Bahamas). In the past, when I came here, I actually said I preferred this place over Nassau. I was disappointed here this time out. Granted, I had no real impetus to really do anything. I was thinking of maybe going to West End or downtown Freeport, but the cabs here were vans. And with vans, they were all looking to fill the van and when they found me solo, they couldn’t get away from me fast enough. I felt the charm and friendliness of the Bahamas strangely missing here that I had once seen before. With that, Freeport, has now become a throwaway port for me. I had hoped it would be different at Cococay, but alas, that was missed due to weather and we ended up spending the night at Freeport and leaving the next day at noon for our trip back to Baltimore.
This was quite efficient. I opted to do self-disembark as I carried all my luggage on, I carried all my luggage out. Easier when you’re solo. I was out in 20 minutes after the door opened. Customs agent didn’t even ask me any questions. He looked at my passport and waved me through. This is only relevant in the winter time (like when I cruised), but the port is smart enough to put heaters between the gangway and the terminal. Those of us foolish enough to not back winter coats (because it was about mid 50s when we embarked) were greeted with below freezing temps.
Grandeur itself is a wonderful cruise experience. The ship is small and intimate enough that it isn’t overwhelming, but still offers the traditional cruise experience. This particular cruise, if I was expecting a bit more from my cruise experience, I might have been disappointed. The service on the ship was adequate to my needs, but I have to say, my needs on this particular cruise was actually fairly low. I felt the single/solo accommodations the cruise offered was minimal. As a whole, I felt the activity staff to be lackluster and failed to engage with the passengers. Would I do this solo again, probably not, but as I said before, it had very little to do with the cruise line itself.
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I had a "Large" interior on deck 7. I think the difference between a standard interior and a large interior is like 10 square feet or something minuscule. Regardless, the room was more than sufficient to my needs. The A/C / Heating was incredibly efficient in the room. Maybe too efficient. it was either too hot or too cold, but then again, the temperature varied sufficiently throughout the cruise. It was over 80 degrees when we were in Florida (slightly above normal they said), but then it plummeted to below freezing on our way back. I'm normally never cold, but the ship was actually pretty cold on deck 7. This was the first time I had EVER turned my thermostat into the red ever (and i've been on winter cruises out of Baltimore before). Noise-wise, there was a group of kids on my floor that liked to run up and down the halls and that could be heard. However, fortunately, they didn't do it in the middle of the night (or if they did, I didn't hear them and it didn't wake me up). Otherwise, I had no problems.
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